With all the questions and wondering if Nick Foles will be starting for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013, the answer may be that there will be nobody else available who is better.
First, let me say that the following is not an indictment of Foles in any way, it’s simply a logical look at possible alternatives. I’m not saying the Eagles need to find someone else nor am I saying they should anoint Foles as the starter right now.
With that out of the way, let’s look at this for a minute and see what other choices are out there…
The list for potential quarterbacks is a small one. Michael Vick and Trent Edwards are on the roster so they are obvious choices, although Vick’s contract and mediocre play likely mean he will be cut.
Outside of the organization, who could the Eagles get that would be an upgrade over Foles? Foles certainly isn’t a world-beater right now so the bar is not set all that high for finding an upgrade.
Therein lies the problem with the quarterback position though, good ones are almost never available. If anything, teams trade for another team’s “promising” backup QB because they’re so desperate for a quality signal caller that they’re willing to give up a premium draft pick for nothing more than a shot in the dark.
In recent memory, the only backup quarterback that was traded for and ended up becoming a solid starting player is Matt Schaub. Unfortunately, this strategy fails far more often than not: Kevin Kolb, Matt Cassel, A.J. Feeley, Rob Johnson, Charlie Whitehurst and Matt Flynn are all examples of why taking the “hot backup” is extremely risky and not very rewarding.
Furthermore, if you look around the NFL this year, what backup QB would you even be interested in? The only one that could be worth a shot is Kirk Cousins, but again, his trade price tag would be much more than the fourth-round pick Washington used on him in last year’s draft.
Plus, Cousins isn’t a “clear upgrade” over Foles and would only serve as competition in camp.
There are a few starters or former starters out there who could be on the trade market. Alex Smith and Mark Sanchez will almost certainly be available in a trade, for the right price.
How would you feel if the Eagles traded for Sanchez with the idea of him being the 2013 starter? Would that give you hope? Hell no it wouldn’t, so let’s not even make that a consideration.
Alex Smith is a name thrown around a little bit and he is certainly more intriguing than Sanchez.
However, what would you give up for Smith? And what would we be getting? If we could get Smith for a fourth-round pick, I’d be all for it. I’d have to think long and hard about giving up a third-rounder for him and a second-rounder would be out of the question.
The best Smith has shown so far in his career is that he can be a “serviceable starter.” At the same time, he’s also shown bust material. He is the type of quarterback that needs a strong supporting cast and will be a guy who is best suited to merely manage an offense.
Smith will likely be the most sought-after QB in a trade (which exemplifies the desperate need by teams at this position). There would likely be a mini-market for him, with perhaps the Arizona Cardinals leading the pack.
Therefore, the Eagles would likely have to overpay for him and that just doesn’t tickle my fancy.
The only other option left to find a quarterback is the draft. And the word is that this is a weak draft class at this position. The Eagles will be picking somewhere between third and eighth overall and there isn’t a college QB anywhere close to being rated that high right now.
Geno Smith will be a name we’ll hear about as an option in the coming months and his draft stock will most likely rise as it gets closer to April. But, if early indications mean anything, he’s not worth taking that high and could have colossal bust written all over him.
There could be a few quarterbacks the Eagles could look at in the third or fourth round that would serve as camp competition for Foles, but that’s about it.
In any case, there isn’t one quarterback out there that screams “he’s better than Nick Foles” at this point in time. Alex Smith or Geno Smith don’t exactly stoke my fire and make me think one of them is the next savior of this franchise.
The problem is, I’m not sure Foles is that guy either. However, the choices are slim. And when you factor in the price we’d have to pay to get another QB that isn’t a clear upgrade, the smart move may be to just stick with Nick for 2013 since the odds of him succeeding would be the same as any other QB they could get.
The Eagles very well could end up making a move at the QB position. The next head coach may prefer someone other than Foles (and Vick for that matter). But, that’s what it would be about…preference.
Since there just isn’t a clear upgrade available in overall talent, it will come down to who the next guy in charge sees as having the best chance to succeed in his system.